One well-known key to mobile marketing success is constantly trying new things to stay ahead of the industry. Creative fatigue sets in quickly and users get oversaturated with similar looking content. Below are five fresh ideas to test with your creatives this year.
1. New Features
Advertising new features in your game or app is usually a strategy reserved for retargeting campaigns. It might seem illogical to advertise new features to new users since they won't have prior context. It's usually safer to rely on your best features instead. However, there's a psychological phenomenon that could support leveraging this tactic with new users.
You're probably familiar with the term FOMO (or "Fear Of Missing Out"). It's the feeling you experience when you think you're missing out on something fun that others are enjoying without you. It compels you to seek out the experience too, even if you don't have prior context. For example, if your friends are talking about The Matrix 4, and you've never seen The Matrix 1-3, chances are you're still going to feel like you're missing out on seeing The Matrix 4.
The same idea can be applied to advertising new features. In the video above, Dentist Bling is calling out "new game modes." I've never heard of this game prior to seeing this ad, but I'm immediately engaged by those 3 simple words. And while I have zero context of any previous game modes, the implication that other game modes exist has me subconsciously curious about them. It's a win-win for the ad and an easy creative test to implement.
Over the past year there's been a trend in challenge-themed gaming ads that aim to push the viewer. These ads tend to show extremely difficult gameplay being overcome masterfully. But a more recent trend conveys a game's challenge through failure, and I really like this approach. Watch this playlist of Brain Test ads that utilize failure in an engaging way:
The reason I like these ads so much more is because they encourage the viewer to think about how they might complete the challenge themselves.
Chaotic, pro-tier gameplay might be visually interesting, but it can also be quite intimidating, and it doesn't give the viewer a chance to "play the game" in their head. It can even hurt retention if users are expecting such an experience within the first moments of playing your game. If you're trying to drive new users to a challenging game, try showing the challenge from the perspective of a regular user, including the failures.
3. Show More Content Simultaneously
The tactics in this post aren't in any particular order, but this is the one I'm probably most excited about testing. Traditionally, marketers have structured their video ads to showcase features sequentially. It's a safe approach that viewers are familiar with it. But 30 seconds only allows for a limited amount of content. Or does it? Check out this ad from Hero of Archery:
Whoever designed this ad created something quite genius. In the span of one ad, they've managed to showcase what might otherwise be three separate videos. And just imagine how you can elevate this ad by including different types of gameplay, title cards, live action, etc. The downside is this approach won't work too well in landscape aspect ratios (unless your app is portrait), and definitely not in square sizes, but I still say it's worth trying!
TIP: Avoid combining clashing visuals. Instead, show off variations of similar features. This makes it easier for the viewer to absorb the information without getting overwhelmed, thus defeating the purpose of simultaneous content.
4. Demo Your App
The easiest ad you can produce is a screen recording of your app. It's quick, honest, and anyone can do it. However, this approach fails to capture one very important element for marketing your product: the user experience. Car commercial? Someone driving the car. Food commercial? Someone eating the food. Clothing commercial? Someone wearing the clothes. You get the point. User experience is essential. But this is mobile marketing, we don't always have the time or budget for a big commercial that might not even perform well! Thankfully you don't need a big production to demo user experience. Case in point:
Ignoring the likely copyright infringement of the latter ad, the above two examples do a great job of demoing their user experience. From a production standpoint, these ads could not be simpler (or cheaper). Probably shot with a phone, both of these ads are 100% one-take recordings of someone playing / using the app, plus a few minutes in editing. Just be sure to pick someone with nice hands!
5. Satisfying Action
There's been a surge in popularity of the "satisfying content" genre. This type of content is hypnotic, relaxing, and highly engaging. It goes hand-in-hand with the rise in popularity of ASMR content over the past few years. In fact, there's even been a rise in satisfaction themed games, like this soap cutting game:
Chances are your app or game doesn't fall under the "satisfying" genre. But that doesn't mean you can't still make satisfying video ads. For example, here's an ad from Bricks vs Balls:
I wouldn't categorize this game in the satisfaction genre, but there's something inherently satisfying about watching the little balls form a specific shape. This is probably because humans are natural pattern recognizers. If your app doesn't have any features that are satisfying to watch, try editing elements of your app into a pattern, or a satisfyingly looped animation. It might just be enough to catch someone's attention.
- Combining similar visuals can exhibit more content in the same amount of time
- A video of someone using your app can easily convey user experience
- Showcasing failure can gets users to think about how they'd play your game
- Satisfying visuals can catch attention and increase engagement
- Highlighting new features can induce FOMO in new users